The first experience all non-US citizens encounter when arriving at any United States airport or border crossing is a customs/immigration officer. That officer will:
- Ask to see your passport
- Determine if you have the proper other credentials to enter the USA
- Ask you questions about the purpose of your trip to the United States. Your answer should fit the type of visa you are holding when you arrive.
- Note: The 2019 IFAJ Congress organizers can provide a personalized and signed letter that explains the conference–which you can show the customs/immigration officer if asked. If you work for a company or on behalf of a company, we recommend you also bring a letter from the company explaining the purpose of your trip. If you have questions about the letter or media visa, contact our Visa committee chair Paul Queck at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Citizens of Canada and Bermuda
Citizens of Canada and Bermuda are not required to have visas to enter the United States for visit, tourism and temporary business travel purposes. For more information see: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/tourism-visit/citizens-of-canada-and-bermuda.html
Citizens of Mexico
Citizens and permanent residents of Mexico generally must have a nonimmigrant visa or Border Crossing Card (also known as a “laser visa”). For ease of travel, the B-1/B-2 visas and the Border Crossing Card have been combined into one document (DSP-150).
Citizens from VISA WAIVER Countries (listed here: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/tourism-visit/visa-waiver-program.html)
If you are a citizen of a Visa Waiver country, the United States does not require you to have a visa to come to the USA to attend a conference, however you will be required to complete an ESTA registration and pay the fee. You must have valid ESTA approval prior to travel to the U.S. In most cases, your ESTA will be valid for two years. For details about ESTA see: https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/.
Media on Assignment from Visa Waiver Countries: If you are working on assignment as a journalist during your visit to the United States you are not allowed to travel to the U.S. with a visitor visa or under the Visa Waiver program. Journalists on assignment are required to secure a media visa in advance of their travel. For information, to include fee and wait times, see: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/employment/visas-members-foreign-media-press-radio.html.
Citizens and Media on Assignment Not from Visa Waiver Countries
If you are a citizen of a country that is not a visa waiver country, you must secure a visa to enter the United States. You are not allowed to enter as a visitor. The type of visa you need depends on what you plan to do during your trip.
- To attend a conference (workshops and tours), such as the IFAJ World Congress, you need a B-1 Visa. See directions for applying here:
- If you will be working as a journalist on assignment during your visit to the United States, you will need a media visa. For information on obtaining a media visa, including fees and wait time, see: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/employment/visas-members-foreign-media-press-radio.html